Tag: Scott Linebrink

2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

Cardinals activate Allen Craig, put Skip Schumaker on DL


Another day, another Cardinals player on the disabled list, as Skip Schumaker was placed on the shelf with a right hamstring strain.

This time around at least the Cardinals are getting a key player back off the DL, as they activated Allen Craig following the minimum 15-day stay for a hamstring injury of his own.

Craig was on fire before the injury, hitting .373 with five homers, five doubles, and a 1.188 OPS in 13 games after making his delayed debut following offseason knee surgery.

Obviously swapping Schumaker for Craig is an upgrade for the offense, but with center fielder Jon Jay suffering a setback with his shoulder injury the Cardinals could have used Schumaker’s defensive versatility. In theory Craig is capable of playing some second base or center field in a pinch, but that was an iffy proposition even before his knee and hamstring problems.

St. Louis’ disabled list now includes Schumaker, Jay, Lance Berkman, Matt Carpenter, Chris Carpenter, Scott Linebrink, and Kyle McClellan.

Scott Linebrink secures spot in Cardinals’ bullpen

Scott Linbrink Getty

Signed to a minor-league deal in mid-February, veteran right-hander Scott Linebrink will be in the Cardinals’ bullpen to begin the season after the team added him to the 40-man roster today.

Linebrink is 35 years old, but pitched decently last season for the Braves with a 3.64 ERA and 42/21 K/BB ratio in 54 innings.

He’s had an ERA between 3.57 and 4.66 in each of the past six seasons, striking out at least 7.0 batters per nine innings every year except 2007.

Running down the rosters: St. Louis Cardinals

2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

The World Series champion Cardinals will go it without Albert Pujols, but the additions of Adam Wainwright (back from Tommy John surgery) and Carlos Beltran should sufficiently make up for that. On paper this year’s team looks just as good as the one that won it all. Of course, last year’s winners wouldn’t have sniffed the postseason playing in any division besides the NL Central, so there is room for improvement.

Adam Wainwright – R
Chris Carpenter – R
Jaime Garcia – L
Kyle Lohse – R
Jake Westbrook – R

Jason Motte – R
Fernando Salas – R
Mark Rzepczynski – L
Kyle McClellan – R
Mitchell Boggs – R
J.C. Romero – L
Eduardo Sanchez – R

SP next in line: Lance Lynn (R), McClellan, Shelby Miller (R), Brandon Dickson (R)
RP next in line: Scott Linebrink (R), Lynn, Jess Todd (R), Maikel Cleto (R), Adam Reifer (R), Samuel Freeman (L)

I didn’t leave a spot for Lynn here, even though I project him as the Cardinals’ fourth best starter. He’s quite a luxury for the team at the moment. The Cardinals could try to dump Westbrook’s salary and slide him into the rotation or move McClellan and use him as a long man. The best option, though, is probably to stand pat and see what happens this spring. I doubt Carpenter and Garcia are going to combine to make 66 starts again. The Cards are sure to need at least six starters, and as great as Miller will be someday, they’re not going to want to have to call on him in the first half.

The bullpen should be strong, even if neither Motte nor Salas can quite duplicate their 2.2x ERAs from last season. The closer’s gig is Motte’s to lose after a fine postseason that included five saves.

SS Rafael Furcal – S
RF Carlos Beltran – S
LF Matt Holliday – R
1B Lance Berkman – S
3B David Freese – R
CF Jon Jay – L
C Yadier Molina – R
2B Daniel Descalso – L

C Tony Cruz – R
INF Tyler Greene – R
INF Alex Cora – L
2B/OF Skip Schumaker – L
OF Shane Robinson – R

Disabled list: Allen Craig (R)
Next in line: C Bryan Anderson (L), C Koyie Hill (S), 1B/OF Mark Hamilton (L), 1B Matt Adams (L), 3B Matt Carpenter (L), INF Pete Kozma (R), INF-OF Eugenio Velez (S), OF Adron Chambers (L), OF Erik Komatsu (L)(Rule 5)

The offense doesn’t lack for big names even with Pujols gone, but I do have my concerns. Berkman and Molina are due for at least mild declines, and Berkman, Furcal, Beltran and Freese all rank among the biggest injury risks at their positions. Given those issues, one would think the Cardinals would have invested more in their bench this winter.

Of course, the bench situation would look a lot better if Craig makes a quick return from knee surgery. He’s the team’s third best outfielder, and he’ll be great insurance for Beltran and Berkman if healthy.

As is, the bench spots are largely up for grabs, with only Schumaker completely assured of his place (though Greene is probably safe). Cruz will battle Anderson to become Molina’s backup, with Hill possibly sneaking in if neither youngster impresses. Cora, Hamilton and Carpenter are the candidates for the sixth infield spot. Robinson, Chambers and Komatsu will compete for one gig in the outfield. I don’t have much faith in anyone from that group, but that’ll be Craig’s spot eventually.

My guess is that the Cardinals start strong, but that injuries take a toll as the year goes on. There may be enough pitching depth to get them back to 90 wins anyway, but the NL Central crown could come down to whether Furcal, Beltran and others are close to 100 percent come September.

Cardinals sign Scott Linebrink to minor league deal

Scott Linbrink Getty
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The Cardinals announced late this afternoon that they have signed reliever Scott Linebrink to a minor league contract which includes an invitation to spring training. B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest was the first to report the news.

Linebrink posted a solid 3.64 ERA and a 42/21 K/BB ratio over 54 1/3 innings with the Braves last season, although he was limited to just 14 appearances between August and September due to a lower back injury. He clearly enjoyed getting away from the American League and the hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, but evidently that wasn’t enough to get him a guaranteed major-league deal.

The Cardinals already have plenty of quality options in their projected bullpen, so the veteran right-hander may have a tough time winning a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Running down the rosters: Los Angeles Angels

Baseball player Albert Pujols wears an Angels cap after he is introduced by the Los Angeles Angels during a news conference at Angels Stadium in Anaheim

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be projecting 25-man rosters for each of the 30 teams. I’m starting today with the Angels.

The winter’s biggest spenders, the Angels are now again poised to threaten a Rangers team that appeared to be in pretty good position to set up its own little mini-dynasty in the AL West. Texas still has more depth and minor league talent to play with, but the Angels have the better rotation and now arguably the game’s best hitter anchoring the lineup.

Jered Weaver – R
Dan Haren – R
C.J. Wilson – L
Ervin Santana – R
Jerome Williams – R

Jordan Walden – R
Scott Downs – L
Hisanori Takahashi – L
LaTroy Hawkins – R
Rich Thompson – R
Bobby Cassevah – R
Trevor Bell – R

SP next in line: Garrett Richards (R), Bell, Brad Mills (L), Eric Hurley (R)
RP next in line: Kevin Jepsen (R), Michael Kohn (R), Francisco Rodriguez (R)

The Angels would still like to add one more reliever, probably Luis Ayala. Scott Linebrink is another possible fit. It’s disappointing that they haven’t picked up any quality rotation insurance. Mills, who was acquired from the Jays for Jeff Mathis, doesn’t really qualify. Their big four starters have stayed remarkably healthy lately, but there’s always the chance one will go down, and Williams is far from a sure thing in the fifth spot.

SS Erick Aybar – R
2B Howie Kendrick – R
1B Albert Pujols – R
DH Kendrys Morales – S
RF Torii Hunter – R
LF Vernon Wells – R
3B Alberto Callaspo – S
C Chris Iannetta – R
CF Peter Bourjos – R

C Bobby Wilson – R
1B-3B Mark Trumbo – R
INF Maicer Izturis – S
OF Bobby Abreu – L

Next in line: C Hank Conger (S), INF Alexi Amarista (L), INF Andrew Romine (S), OF Mike Trout (R), OF Ryan Langerhans (L)

Obviously, that projection hinges on both Morales (ankle) and Trumbo (foot) being healthy for Opening Day. Morales’ status is still very much in doubt. If Morales starts off on the DL, then Abreu and Trumbo figure to platoon in the DH spot, opening up a place for Langerhans on the bench.

If Morales does prove healthy, then there’s the chance the Angels will send Trumbo down with the idea of playing him at third regularly. He’ll get reps at the hot corner this spring, but it’s doubtful that he’ll manage to overtake Callaspo or Izturis on the depth chart there right away.

It’s clear that the Angels expect to start Trout off in the minors. Perhaps that would change if he swims circles around Wells this spring, but I doubt it.

There will be a battle between Wilson and Conger for the backup catcher gig. Since Iannetta figures to play plenty, the Angels will probably send Conger down and let him start in Triple-A. I’m pretty sure Conger would be able to help while catching twice a week and DHing another once or twice, but the Angels won’t have that kind of playing time open for him.